The human body is a magnificent piece of machinery. Your bones are designed to withstand tremendous pressure, your ligaments can support bending and stretching all day long, and if you’re like most people, you don’t give these abilities a second thought. You just move naturally throughout your day.
However, when you start to move one way, and your joints don’t cooperate, you may well end up with an injury that sidelines you for a bit. Sprains, strains, torn ligaments and tendons, and even broken bones can result from injuries to the joints.
It might be easy to recognize that you’re injured, pain being the main indicator, but it isn’t always so easy to tell when you need urgent medical attention.
Never ignore an injury to your joint
When you do suffer a joint injury, prompt medical attention can make a world of difference in your recovery. You never want to ignore or self-diagnose an injury that may be more serious than you think. A joint that swells, changes colors, doesn’t move without pain, or is extremely tender likely needs more attention than your own TLC.
That’s why Medinet Family Care Clinic offers urgent care for families in and around the Houston area. In addition to providing prompt attention for our regular patients in areas of family medicine such as wellness exams, and immunizations, and treatment for chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, age-related conditions, and cardiovascular health, Dr. Bharat Gandhi and his team also offer urgent care services.
You may not know how badly you’re injured
A broken bone is fairly easy to judge. First, of course, there’s the immense pain. If that isn’t enough to send you seeking relief, there are other symptoms. Depending on the location of the break, you may be unable to move, or at least as easily as you normally would. You hardly need to think twice about receiving medical attention — and fast.
A sprain can be less obvious. You might think you’ve overexerted yourself, sustained a strain, or pulled a muscle or ligament. A few days of your own RICE treatment (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) should serve you well, and then you’ll be ready to jump back into the game.
If your injury isn’t a strained muscle or ligament, you could actually be doing more damage to the joint by self-treating.
A sprain can happen anytime
Your joints are made to bend. There are bones that connect to muscle by your tendons. Ligaments connect your bones to one another. When your joint is forced to move in an unnatural way, ligaments can stretch beyond their ability. In the case of an ankle sprain, you may encounter some rough, uneven, and unexpected terrain on your daily walk. Your foot may turn inward, and a sprain occurs.
How to recognize a sprain
When you sprain a ligament, inflammation develops, and the body’s responses to the inflammation can be quick and obvious. Some common signs are:
- Redness and warmth to the touch
If your symptoms aren’t so obvious, you might still be questioning whether you need urgent care. Here are some ways to determine the need for concern:
- If over-the-counter medications, such as NSAIDS or acetaminophen, don’t tame your pain, seek urgent care as soon as possible.
- If the swelling of your joint isn’t responding to ice and elevation, you likely have a sprain.
- If you’re unable to bear weight, or move the joint, prompt medical attention is necessary.
Also, If you’ve gone 5-7 days in pain with no improvement, you absolutely need urgent care. The longer you go without seeking medical attention for your sprain, the more damage you may suffer to your joint. This can interfere with your ability to fully recover, including regaining full mobility.
Get help now
With the proper attention, even a mild sprain can take you out of the game, or limit your daily activities, for up to 10 days.
Never attempt to “tough out” a sprain — or any other injury. If you sustain an injury to any of your joints — such as your wrist, elbow, shoulder, knee, or, most commonly, your ankle — don’t wait for medical attention. Contact the compassionate team at Medinet Family Care Clinic immediately and receive treatment so you can begin your recovery.